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A Baseball Bucket List for Groups

”People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Rogers Hornsby, a legendary professional player and coach, summed up many fans’ feelings well. Fortunately, baseball sites around the country allow them to immerse themselves in their favorite sport both in and out of season.

Whether you’re a diehard fan or just someone who enjoys a sunny afternoon watching the “boys of summer,” these legendary ballparks, museums and spring training spots are great places to soak in America’s favorite pastime and should be on everyone’s itinerary.

Classic Stadiums

Fenway Park


Boston’s Fenway Park, the oldest in the majors, still operates much as it did when the Red Sox played their first game there on April 9, 1912. The Red Sox (who won the very first World Series in 1903) celebrated Fenway’s opening by bringing home the trophy again later that year. Distinctive for its 37-foot left field wall (known as the “Green Monster,”), the stadium — along with Wrigley Field — still operates using a manual scoreboard.

Visitors can enjoy a number of experiences at the park, which operates tours throughout the year, rain or shine. But during baseball season, groups can opt for a variety of pregame tours where they can meet Wally the Green Monster, the team’s official mascot, or take some swings in an official MLB batting cage. The Take Me To Fenway tour lets groups of two to 20 tour with an official Fenway Park tour guide. For an unforgettable occasion, the Ultimate Monster package offers up to 27 guests seating in a VIP section on top of the Green Monster wall; a private pregame VIP tour, complete with a trip onto the field during batting practice; a hosted pregame reception; catering (including lobster rolls and clam chowder) throughout the game; and Red Sox jerseys.

Boston is a highly walkable city, and Fenway is located near cultural gems including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as the serene trails of the Fens, and the iconic 2.5-mile Freedom Trail.

Wrigley Field


Another iconic baseball sanctuary, “the Friendly Confines” of Chicago’s Wrigley Field are rich in history. Its ivy-covered outfield walls have witnessed more than a century of baseball, including a legendary losing streak that was snapped in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series win since 1908. Built in 1914, the park has played host to ski jumping and circuses — the “elephant gate” in right field was actually sized to permit pachyderms to enter. In 1988, the park installed lights that permitted night play — 40 years after every other team had electrified.

Visitors can tour the Friendly Confines from March through November. On nongame days, guided tours may visit the seating bowl, press box, bleachers, visitor’s clubhouse, Cubs’ clubhouse and dugout. Participants also get the chance to step on the field. Game day tours can’t visit the clubhouses, but visitors can take a crack at the indoor batting cage. Hospitality options include party suites and patios throughout the park — including the famed bleachers — with delicious ballpark fare including world-famous Chicago dogs. For a different view and a distinctive experience, groups may rent one of 11 unique rooftops along Waveland and Sheffield avenues and watch a game the way locals used to.

The Wrigleyville neighborhood is packed with fun sports bars like the iconic Cubby Bear, a fan favorite since 1953. Or groups can enjoy barbecue at Smoke Daddy or tacos at Big Star before taking a short walk east down Addison to admire great views of Lake Michigan.

Memorable Museums

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Cooperstown, New York

Contrary to popular belief, Civil War hero Abner Doubleday didn’t actually invent baseball in Cooperstown, New York. Baseball as we know it is a variation on many older bat-and-ball games, including rounders and cricket. But Cooperstown shows its pride in the sport all the same and is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Opened in 1939, the museum is billed as “Baseball’s Spiritual Home” and boasts an enormous collection of memorabilia that documents pivotal moments and the game’s influence both on and off the field. Rotating exhibits explore key themes in baseball, and the Hall of Fame immortalizes the sport’s storied characters, from players to managers, umpires and executives.

Visitors will find three floors of exhibits and artifacts including the cap worn by Jackie Robinson in 1955 when the Dodgers defeated the Yankees to win their first World Series championship; a bat used by Babe Ruth in 1927; and the uniform worn by Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron on April 8, 1974, when he earned his 715th career home run to break Babe Ruth’s record. Private tours are available and can be made even more special by choosing the Artifact Spotlight Program, which allows groups to see a selection of artifacts tailored to their favorite teams while a member of the staff shares the story behind each of the items.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Kansas City, Missouri

Baseball did not avoid the shame of segregation, and by 1900 African American players such as Moses Fleetwood Walker and Bud Fowler were forced to leave the professional teams they had previously played for. An organized league was formed in 1920 in Kansas City for Black players, and Black baseball bloomed across the country, as well as in Canada and Latin America. Second baseman Jackie Robinson — a star of the Kansas City Monarchs — was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, marking the beginning of Major League Baseball’s integration.

The storied history of black baseball lives on at Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which features hundreds of photographs, artifacts and film exhibits integrated with a timeline of baseball and African American history.

Sunshine and Spring Training

Sloan Park

Mesa, Arizona

While Chicago is still encased in cold, summer comes early in Arizona. The Phoenix metro area is home to the spring training grounds of the 15 teams that make up the Cactus League, which was formed in 1947. The cactus roster includes the Chicago Cubs, who practice at a 140-acre mini-Wrigley on the grounds of a former golf course. Sloan Park, which opened in 2014, has 9,200 fixed seats and 4,200 lawn seats, along with party decks and luxury suites. Food trucks lined up behind center field add a fun touch and, of course, fans can get an authentic Chicago-style hot dog. On game days, they can request complimentary custom messages on the Sloan Park Marquee — perfect for a group’s souvenir photos. Tours, hospitality and other group experiences are customizable.

Sloan Park is just around the corner from great museums, gardens and historic sites. The Valley of the Sun is home to nine other spring training stadiums where baseball-loving groups can catch lots of games (and some rays) while enjoying the winter-busting warmth of the desert.

CoolToday Park

North Port, Florida

The Atlanta Braves opened their state-of-the-art spring training stadium in 2019, making it the newest facility in Florida’s Grapefruit League. North Port is about 45 minutes south of Sarasota and one hour north of Fort Myers. The stadium’s outfield is similar to the Braves’ home stadium in Truist Park and has 6,500 fixed-seat stadium seats and 2,500 general admission spots, along with terrace and patio suites. A tiki bar and restaurant are open for lunch and dinner throughout the year.

Tours can include on-field access, a walk through the press box, and a visit to the Braves’ dugout. A VIP experience offers guests an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Braves players, coaches and personnel preparing for spring training games, with early entry to the ballpark to watch the team take batting practice on the field behind home plate and access to the climate-controlled Legends Club with complimentary food and beverage.

North Port is the only city in Florida with an entire forest inside its city limits — the 8,000-acre Myakka State Forest. Groups should also visit Warm Mineral Springs, which maintains an 85-degree temperature year-round and has one of the highest mineral contents in the world. Visitors who enjoy beaches with their baseball will find some of Florida’s finest about a 30-minute drive away.